How to install luxury vinyl plank flooring in any room with tips on how to easily cut vinyl plank flooring to fit perfectly around doorways.
When it comes to home decorating or doing a room makeover, I, like many of you… want to jump right in and get things done pronto! For my studioffice, I did just that by laying a new floor the day after we moved into our house.
This floor was the very first DIY home improvement project we made to the lake house. We loved it so much that we also used it in two bathrooms, a hallway and laundry room. We also have installed luxury vinyl plank flooring in a game room and wood laminate flooring in my bedroom. We have become pretty good at installing plank vinyl and wood laminate flooring.
How to Install Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring in a Room
I can live with old and outdated fixtures in the house as long as they are functional, but I have a hard time living with wall colors I don’t like and old wall-to-wall carpeting that is stained. The best time to change both are when there is no furniture in the room.
Paint the walls first using the wall-to-wall carpet as a drop cloth. Once the walls are done, remove the carpet to install the new flooring.
When it came time to set up my studioffice in the lake house, (Still can’t believe we made this happen :-) I knew I needed flooring that would be easy to clean and maintain. As you know, I paint a lot, spill, and make a lot of creative messes.
Before we moved, I went to the Floor & Decor near our previous house in PA. They sell tile, stone, wood, and laminate all at discount prices. I came across this NuCore waterproof luxury vinyl plank flooring that has a cork backing.
What is Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring?
If you are not familiar with this type of flooring, luxury vinyl plank flooring is made to look like wood and that goes together in a snap…literally…each plank snaps into the next. This type flooring is also known as a floating floor. The cork backing makes the ease of installation even easier since you do not have to put a liner down on the floor first.
I bought the amount of flooring that I knew was needed to do the studioffice in the lake house.
NuCore Waterproof Flooring comes in many colors, but I chose Gunstock Oak (it has a wood texture on the surface) since I like medium dark floors with white walls for my home’s interior. I also like that it has a casual look and texture like real wood. It is hypoallergenic, waterproof, and the cork backing is sound resistant. The best part though.. it is a DIY’ers dream since installing it is very easy.
Before we put all the furniture in the room we ripped up the carpet the second night after we moved in. I say we, I mean Ed. I had Shingles and was in misery. Ed took on the project all by himself. He called me when he got to certain points so I could take photos of the steps for this post.
FLOORING INSTALLATION TIP: Putting in the floor was easy once we knew what we were doing.
- Practice on a few planks first to get the idea on how the planks snap together and also how to cut them.
What You Should Know Before You Start to Install Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
This brand, NuCore flooring does not have to acclimate to the temperature of the room first. Once you bring the boxes into your house, you can start installing it right away. I have listed below what we needed to do before installing the floor.
Like most projects…it is all about the “prep work”. Once you have these addressed, you can install the floor in a day…it is that easy.
- When installing a floating floor, there needs to be about a 1/2″ – 1″ of space left all around the room between the flooring and the wall so that the flooring can expand.
How to Figure Out the Plank Width Cut Lengths for the First and Last Row of Flooring:
- You also have to be sure that if you start with a full width in the first row that you don’t end up having to cut the last row of planks too thinly or they won’t lay correctly.
- The first row of planks may each need to be cut along the entire plank width before installing. Ed did these calculations so the last row would still be wide enough to snap in while leaving an inch for expansion.
How to Actually Cut the Planks that Needed Resizing?
The other part about laying the vinyl plank flooring that we had to think about before starting was how to cut the vinyl planks. The directions on the box stated to cut the vinyl planks with a utility knife. Ed tried this and it was just about impossible, even with brand new sharp blades. He ended up using a circular saw to cut the planks.
How to Cut and Fit the Vinyl Planks Around Doorways Where There Were Not Straight Edges?
This was tricky around the doors, but a Dremel rotary tool with a cutting blade on it helped to fit the planks around doorways. We used quarter-round molding to hide the inch gap that was left between the flooring and the walls.
Note: I wish we knew about this handy gauge when we installed the flooring. It would have made detailed cuts around door, much easier.
What Direction Do You Lay Luxury Vinyl Planks?
- We read the directions on the box and learned that to lessen the visibility of the snap together long joints between the planks, we needed to lay them so that the snap together joints were laying in the same direction as the sun or light source that comes into the room. The short end sides will run parallel with the light source which in my case is the sliding glass doors.
How to Install Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring
- NuCore Waterproof Flooring in Gunstock Oak
- Tape Measure
- Utility knife
- Circular saw
- Quarter-round molding
- Finishing nails, nail punch and hammer
- Knee pads
- Wood doorway transition strip
- Optional: This handy gadget called a Contour Gauge will make cutting the vinyl planks around doorways fast and easy. We didn’t know about it when we laid the flooring, but it would have made a big difference in how professional are detailed cuts around the doors looked.
- Clean the floor well to make sure all dust, dirt, and previous fasteners (such as nails and carpet tack strips) are gone before installing the floor.
2. Lay down the first few rows and make sure they are straight. Double check and straighten if needed. Once you know the planks are running straight, proceed with laying and snapping the planks together. This will go very quickly since there is no glue or nails needed.
Note: When cutting the planks, vary where you put the cut piece from the last row into the next row so the plank lengths are random all over the floor. You don’t want to see repeating seams/joints in the same places.
3. Use primed quarter-round or base shoe molding to finish the edges of the flooring where it meets the wall all around the room. If the gap between the wall and last plank is larger than a piece of base shoe molding will cover, use quarter-round molding as it will cover a wider gap.
Attach quarter-round or base shoe molding with finishing nails.
For the doorway where the flooring transitions to another type of flooring, I cut a wood doorway transition strip to the width of the opening. I will stain this to match the floor.
These strips are made to transition from wood to vinyl or carpet. They are sold at the home improvement store or where you buy flooring.
Now that the flooring is installed, my next project is to prime and paint all the existing brown trim in the room white.
How to Clean a NuCore Luxury Vinyl Plank Floor?
- To clean a NuCore Luxury Vinyl Plank floor I have used both a Bona Mop with their original cleaning solution and a Swiffer Wet Jet Mop with the Open Window Fresh Scent cleaning solution.
- Since I own the two brands of mops, I use both, but one is not better than the other. Either will do the job. They both spray just enough cleaning solution and the pads on the mops wipe up any excess, so there is no standing water ever on the floor.
Want to see the completed AFTER of this room? You can see it in this post: Studioffice Makeover – AFTER Room Tour
We loved everything about this Nu-Core luxury vinyl plank flooring that we also used it in two bathrooms, a hallway and laundry room.
You can see the BEFORE and AFTER photos in each of these posts:
This post is sponsored by Floor & Decor. They provided me with a gift card to purchase flooring of my choice to complete this project. Thank you so much for supporting the sponsors that make In My Own Style possible. All content and opinions are my own.